SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - With the scorching heat, the first line of defense to check on seniors also delivers lunch each day to more than a thousand people in Caddo Parish alone. So, we went along for a ride to see a driver's job firsthand in the Meals on Wheels program.
Meals on Wheels' national slogan is "Let's Do Lunch, America." And the program in Caddo Parish prides itself on being more than just a meal. The Caddo Council on Aging's Executive Director Mary Alice Rountree told us, "They're a friendly knock on the door with a safety check."
As Rountree likes to say, at her agency, compassion is always on their menu.
For more than a decade Sentell Edwards has delivered for the Meals On Wheels program through the Caddo Council on Aging. When the mercury soars, Edwards knows one thing for sure about some seniors on his daily route.
"For them it's real hot because a lot of them don't even have air conditioning, nothing like that. They just have a fan," explained Edwards.
Edwards becomes, in effect, their first line of defense against the heat and contacts a supervisor if they need help.
"If it's real hot in there, I'll let them know how hot it is in the house and then they kind of go kind of assess it and do something about that."
Edwards said in a typical day he will deliver at least 85 meals to seniors who are typically shut-in. He's just one of 13 drivers for the Caddo Parish Meals on Wheels program that delivers one meal a day to more than a thousand people.
Mary Jean Grant is on Edwards' route and said she knows of seniors who must make tough financial decisions.
"I know they can't afford to pay the electrical bill, like you said, because they've got to buy medicine and groceries."
At the next stop, senior citizen Rosie McCurty told Sentell her bedroom is just too hot.
"I just need a little more air in my room in there."
That's just one example of why the Caddo Council on Aging also gives out fans, to spread the cool air around, like inside Rosie McCurty's home.
Mary Alice Rountree told us their Meals On Wheels program needs more volunteers. For more information just call (318) 676-7900.